‘Arsenal’s takeover: Changes in the boardroom but not on the pitch’
PUBLISHED: 12:08 14 April 2011
Read Gunners legend Nigel Winterburn’s exclusive Arsenal column here every week
TAKEOVER talk has dominated the week at the Emirates, but I think a lot of it has been conjecture so far because the truth is we have no idea how things are going to pan out under the new owner.
Stan Kroenke has made his move after more than four years of being involved at Arsenal, but the timing of it has been a bit of a surprise.
Obviously Danny Fiszman has passed away which is very sad news for his family and the club, and his decision to sell his shares now to Kroenke has triggered what we are now seeing.
Back in my days as a player I once tried to ask for shares as part of my new contract, and I was told where to go, how I wish I had pushed a bit harder for them back then!
They were worth about £3000 back in those days, but have just been bought for almost four times as much making a massive windfall for the directors who have sold this week.
But while there has been a big change in the boardroom, I am really not sure how much will change around the club in the near future.
Kroenke has already given his backing to Arsene Wenger and everybody should expect that. No matter what some people think about not winning a trophy for almost six years, Wenger is still a world class manager that any club would love to have.
Look at the training ground, look at the players, look at the Emirates Stadium packed out every week – Wenger has done so much for this club in the last 15 years.
I remember only too well what the stadium and training ground were like before he came, and can tell you he has revolutionised this club on and off the pitch.
What has been missing in the last five years is that winning mentality that turns sides from good teams into great ones, winning ones.
They still have a chance this season, but it is a long shot even if that win at Blackpool did keep the dream alive for at least another week.
However, there were some worrying defensive moments up there. There has been a lot I have liked about Laurent Koscielny this season, but he is far too eager to tackle in dangerous areas, and was so lucky not to give away another penalty on Sunday.
He has made a big step up this season, has pace and closes down players fast, but he has given away a lot of penalties and needs to know when to tackle and when to just stand off.
He will be fully tested by Liverpool and Spurs over the next few days and these are clearly two games that will decide Arsenal’s season.
Spurs are out of the Champions League but will be desperate to get back in it after their impressive run in the competition this season.
They have won the last two league derbies and have shown this season that they have the potential to be a top four club, but know that it is so crucial that they don’t miss out this season. It’s going to be another classic derby, and Arsenal are going to have to improve defensively to win it, which they must do to put pressure on Manchester United.